Edward W. Wilbers

FORT THOMAS - Edward W. Wilbers reveled in the view of the Ohio River from his home. He enjoyed being outdoors, gardening, planting bushes or trees, and then inviting his family and friends to enjoy the picturesque grounds with him.

He especially loved the Fourth of July when the family gathered for parties. His son, Edward A. Wilbers of Edgewood, said though his father was never musically inclined, it was a tradition for him to lead everyone in a rousing rendition of the song, "The Little Brown Jug," before the celebrations were over.

During World War II, Mr. Wilbers was a Navy Seabee. His Construction Battalion helped rebuild Pearl Harbor following the attack and then built the air strip and radio towers on Iwo Jima once the Marines had routed the the enemy.

"He could have been the poster boy for Tom Brokaw's book, 'The Greatest Generation,' " his son said. "His life displayed all of the characteristics noted in the book; personal responsibility, duty, honor and faith."

Mr. Wilbers died Nov. 20 at St. Elizabeth Hospice in Fort Thomas of natural causes. He was 92.

He was born in Newport to Edward and Marguarite Wilbers and was raised in Fort Thomas.

He married Dayton, Ky., native, Thelma "Toni" Bruegger, in 1945.

He was the owner of Wilbers Construction Co. in Fort Thomas, a founder of the Northern Kentucky Home Builders Association, vice-president and director of First Federal Savings and Loan and co-owner of Bellewood Lanes in Bellevue.

In 1989, during his tenure at First Federal, Mr. Wilbers was named "Boss of the Year" by the American Business Women's Association.

"My father was a nice guy who said what he meant and meant what he said. He didn't talk down to anybody. He treated everyone as an equal," his son said.

He was a director of the Diocesan Children's Home, president of the Fort Thomas Optimist Club, member of St. Thomas Church in Fort Thomas, the Knights of Columbus and Newport Elks Lodge #273.

His wife died previously.

Along with his son, survivors include daughters, Kathy Seal of Fort Thomas, Peggi Pleiman and Pam Wilbers, both of Cold Spring; sister, Marge Staley of Fort Thomas; nine grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Services have taken place. Burial was in St. Stephen Cemetery, Fort Thomas. Muehlenkamp-Ershell Funeral Home, Fort Thomas, handled arrangements.

Memorials: St. Elizabeth Hospice, 483 South Loop Drive, Edgewood, KY 41017; St. Thomas Church, 26 E. Villa Place, Fort Thomas, KY 41075; or Diocesan Children's Home, 75 Orphanage Road, Fort Mitchell, KY 41017.

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Published in the Kentucky Enquirer from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1, 2012